Santorini Caldera

Location: Fira

The crescent-shaped Caldera of Santorini is the biggest gem in the Aegean and one of the most impressive places to visit in the world!
Thousands of visitors arrive every year to spend a holiday like no other in the caldera’s picturesque villages and admire the views, turning Santorini into one of the most photographed locations in Greece!

The history

The current shape of the caldera was formed more than 3500 years ago when a huge volcanic eruption altered the Mediterranean topography for good.
Its height varies from 150 to 350 meters. The distance from one end of the island (Cape Exomitis) to the other (Cape Mavropetra) is 18 km.
The landscape consists of steep rocks and massive cliffs, often above cloud level.
It is one of the most beautiful locations in Greece and will continue to be so, at least for a few centuries to come, until the next eruption takes place.
The best way to find out more about the unique geological profile is to visit the famous volcano by boat and see where it all began!

Interesting Facts

The Caldera is linked to one of the world’s top unsolved ancient mysteries

Some experts have several reasons to believe that the accurate location to look for answers regarding the famous myth of Atlantis is no other than Santorini. What kind of secrets lie in the bottom of the Aegean Sea around the caldera? One can only wonder.

The caldera of Santorini is the only inhabited caldera in the world

No matter how many destructive eruptions occurred in the past, the locals have never given up. The villages of Santorini have been patiently rebuilt multiple times after every major eruption or earthquake that wiped out the island’s former settlements.

Things to do on the caldera

Watch the sunset from one of the caldera villages

Oia: At the northernmost point of the caldera lies the charming town of Oia.
Most people may already be familiar with Oia since this small town is one of the most photographed places in Greece.
With its postcard-like scenery, Oia encapsulates the essence of the Cyclades and is known as the best place to watch the sunset in Santorini. The village is full of life, featuring bars, restaurants, and hotels constructed on the edge of the caldera’s steep cliffs to provide panoramic views.

Fira: Being the capital town of Santorini, Fira is the heart of the island and the liveliest place to visit on the caldera.
Several popular viewpoints in Fira will allow you to admire the Aegean Sea, the majestic volcano, and the whitewashed houses.
A large part of the town is literally built on a cliffside a few hundred meters above the sea. Several hotels, restaurants, and bars that are located there have every right to boast their views!
Fira is extremely beautiful at sunset time, offering a captivating view.

Imerovigli: Offering panoramic views of the sea, Imerovigli is another must. The quaint village lies on the highest point of the caldera and is said to be one of the best viewpoints in Santorini.
In fact, the location used to be a lookout point in the past, and a Venetian fortress was constructed there.
Nowadays, Imerovigli boasts some cafes and restaurants where you can enjoy your meal or drink while gazing at the beautiful scenery.

The best way to enjoy the villages to the fullest is to book your accommodation in one of the hotels hosted there! A wide variety of accommodation facilities is available, including suites, villas, and more. The caldera villages are among the best places to stay in Santorini - finding your dream hotel won’t be difficult!

Go hiking

The hiking path from Fira to Oia is the most popular trail on the island. The unique hiking route allows visiting some of the best viewpoints on the caldera as well as passing through the picturesque villages of Fira, Firostefani, Imerovigli, and Oia.
It is about 10 km long and it usually takes up to 5 hours. It is considered a fairly easy hiking path and it is beginner-friendly.
In Santorini, hiking during the early morning or late afternoon hours is recommended if you visit the island during the summer; thus, you avoid the burning midday sun since there is usually little to no shade.
It is also advised to bring water and snacks so that you don’t have to search for shops in the villages.

You may also combine this path with Skaros rock starting at Imerovigli. Shorter hiking paths are also available, including the Old Harbour Trail, also known as Karavolades Stairs. The trail is 588 steps in total, which you can climb on foot or ride a donkey to go down and use a cable car to go up. If you choose to go on foot, the path can be quite tiring and you will probably need 1 to 3 hours.

Biking tours, organized hiking trips, horseback riding, and other amazing tours and activities are offered for those who want to explore the caldera by themselves or in groups.

Top Tours and activities

  • Best Seller

    Luxury Catamaran trip around the Caldera

    Category: Boat
    Show description

    Board a deluxe catamaran and set for an amazing, semi-private trip at the caldera, the hot springs, and the southern coasts. Rich dinner is served on board and snorkeling equipment is also available.

    5 hours Map
    from € 110.00
    Book now
  • Best Seller

    Bus tour around the island (best sights)

    Category: Island, Bus
    Show description

    This bus tour allows you to see the top sights: the Minoan Town of Akrotiri, the Red Beach, the black beaches, Santo Winery, and Oia at sunset time.

    12 hours Map
    from € 55.00
    Book now
  • Helicopter tour above the Volcano & Oia

    Category: Helicopter
    Show description

    Visiting the island during the summer is perfect for enjoying its scenery the most. However, crowds of tourists and the intense heat during the daytime turn sightseeing into an uphill struggle. A helicopter tour is an ideal option to discover the island from a unique perspective.

    20 minutes Map
    from € 690.00
    Book now

How to get there

Caldera is a four-mile diameter basin - you can admire its view from Fira, Imerovigli, Firostefani, Akrotiri, Megalochori, and Oia.

Tours: Discover the Caldera with an organized tour at the best price!

Private transfers: We recommend using an online pre-booked transfer service, which provides transfer by taxi, minibus, or private VIP car and arranging a pickup directly from your hotel. Alternatively, there’s the option of scheduling a direct pickup by a local driver at the following numbers: 0030 690 679 4316, 0030 22860 22555.

Car rental: There’s the option of renting a car and picking it up directly from your hotel. You can then visit the Caldera but also many other places of interest.

Public transfers: You can reach all the villages with Caldera views by bus from Fira central station. Note that time schedules might change according to the season. Check the official timetables here.
Tip: Since buses don’t always stop at every scheduled stop of their itinerary, our advice to visitors is to inform the driver about their final destination in advance.

Alternatively, you can book accommodation with Caldera views.

Map

Reviews

4.5/5.0
2 Reviews
  • reton32 16 Oct 2010
    Best spot for wedding
    What to say about caldera? There are no words. The best place in the world, best view, best spot to get married. Actually I saw many couples getting married in Santorini while I was there. No wonder, because truly you can't find a more romantic place for your wedding. Looking at the sunset was a marvelous experience, the sun going into the sea in pink and orange background! It is too sad that the sunset ended so quickly!
  • gareth 02 Jun 2010
    Impressive
    The beautiful beaches, buildings of special beauty, mouth-watering Greek dishes with view to the sunset and excellent spots for coffee early in the morning – that's what Caldera is all about to me.

    The romantic spot, beautiful experience of tranquility and proximity to nature is to be cherished. The imprint of the caldera is evident all over the island, in all the aspects of life: architecture, food, tourism, beaches, everywhere. The caldera is certainly the most tourist attraction of Santorini. The scenic beauty and the mesmerizing spots, all made excellent impressions to us and we realized what makes all the beauty of Santorini.

    However, the bad thing is that the locals take great trade of this beauty. I found that some of the exquisite hotels and spectacular restaurants with view to the caldera were way too pricey. Well, that's life, isn't it? You have to pay for something so beautiful! But it's worth it, my friends, it's totally worth it!

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